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Showing posts from September, 2023

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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

From Paved Paradise: the paradox of parking enforcement. Which means... the status quo endures near the arena.

I recent read Henry Grabar's excellent book Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World , which helps explain one of the lasting conundrums related to the Barclays Center: the unwillingness and inability of city officials to enforce parking laws. From the summary: Parking, quite literally, has a death grip on America: each year a handful of Americans are tragically killed by their fellow citizens over parking spots. But even when we don’t resort to violence, we routinely do ridiculous things for parking, contorting our professional, social, and financial lives to get a spot. Indeed, in the century since the advent of the car, we have deformed—and in some cases demolished—our homes and our cities in a Sisyphean quest for cheap and convenient car storage. As a result, much of the nation’s most valuable real estate is now devoted exclusively to empty and idle vehicles, even as so many Americans struggle to find affordable housing. Parking determines the design of new buildings and

From the latest (non-) Construction Update: again, no new work, just continued open space work in fountain area at 595 Dean

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning  Monday, Oct. 2, was circulated yesterday at 12:03 pm (lead time) by email by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project. As with the Update  two weeks ago ., there's no major construction activity, but, at the B12/B13 towers (595 Dean), "East Courtyard Work ongoing for the fountain area." That's incremental progress from the previous alert, which said work "remains to be completed pending final delivery of materials."  Indeed, the open space isn't yet done, though the buildings have been open for months--albeit not for the  "affordable" units . Baseline competency The document notes that weekday work hours are 7 am-6 pm and adds "Saturday work is not currently scheduled during this reporting period." That clarification is a reminder that, for many months, the Updates had misleadingly sugge

Win-Win? Behind The Book of HOV, a savvy Roc Nation CEO whose Trump pardon (for long-past drug convictions) may have been strategic.

Yesterday, I mentioned  that the chairs for the big Jay-Z gala at the Brooklyn Public Library's Central Library Oct. 3 include library CEO Linda Johnson and her husband, the developer Bruce Ratner (who built the Barclays Center), as well as Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, who currently own the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty, and the arena operating company. Photos: Norman Oder But let's not skip over the other co-chair Desiree Perez, CEO of Jay-Z's company Roc Nation , who--as a reader pointed out--has an interesting backstory, involving a drug conviction (for some serious weight), a bold gambit to wear a wire, and, much later, a pardon by President Donald Trump which prompted speculation. After all, if Perez could get the Brooklyn Public Library to install essentially a Jay-Z Hall of Fame in its public spaces, put a Lexus on its lawn, and cover its facade with visually striking but mostly forgettable Jay-Z lyrics--after all, most are hardly hits--she's got to be an operator an

At Brooklyn Public Library gala honoring Jay-Z, co-chairs include Bruce Ratner (husband of library CEO) + Joe & Clara Wu Tsai. "Book of HOV" exhibit extended, now with a Lexus on the lawn.

Photos: Norman Oder Well, now.  The Brooklyn Public Library, likely executing a plan long contemplated, has extended The Book of HOV, the Roc Nation-produced "tribute" to company founder Jay-Z, to Dec. 4, which just happens to be Jay's birthday.  And Monday, the Central Library will again--as with a summer shindig previewing the exhibit, per Hell Gate -- close early, for the library annual gala, likely to reap more in donations than previous efforts. After all, they're honoring Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and his mother Gloria Carter, and the significant list of supporters--including corporate names like Amazon, Goldman Sachs and Google--suggests some deep pockets. Then again, the library has already compromised itself by hosting, with no editorial control, an exhibit that mythologizes Jay-Z, and two weeks ago even allowed a Lexus used in a famed video--another Jay-Z "artifact"--to be mounted on its lawn, complete with its own security guard. The library

AY down the memory hole: Doctoroff credited by NY Times for Atlantic Yards' "larger plan for 17 high-rises." No, project wasn't abandoned.

OK, when a New York Times profile of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, posted online 9/6/23, bizarrely credited the former city official with the Atlantic Yards plan but also said the recession forced its abandonment, I tweeted the following "Apartment towers... rise" far more slowly than originally planned, and delay means that baseline for #affordablehousing calculations rises steadily. In his book, Doctoroff admitted he thought #AtlanticYards was a "crazy risk," but he played good soldier — Norman Oder (@AYReport) September 6, 2023 Following up When I saw the article in print three days later,  His Mind Helped Rebuild New York. His Body Is Failing Him.  with the mistake intact, I wrote a letter to the newspaper, seeking a correction: By no stretch of imagination should Doctoroff be credited with "larger plan for 17 high-rises." Rather, the plan was developed by developer Forest City Ratner/Bruce Ratner, and shepherded/ap

"City of Yes" proposals for 100K new homes include density bonus for below-market units, but affordability level unclear. Info session tomorrow.

Mayor Adams Launches Historic Effort to Build "A Little More Housing in Every Neighborhood,"  the city announced 9/21/23. Translation: a potential 100,000 more homes over 15 years, or 6,667 a year. The  “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” proposal  is part of Adams’ “moonshot” goal of delivering 500,000 new homes to New Yorkers over the next decade, given that population and jobs exceeds the supply of residences. The top feature is "Ending Parking Mandates for New Housing," which drives up costs--and helps explain why applicants for spot rezonings propose eliminating a parking requirement. But that proposal may face challenge in certain neighborhoods less connected to public transit. New affordability More crucial for those watching development in the area around Atlantic Yards is the "Universal Affordability Preference," which is a 20% density bonus for all affordable housing--including additions to existing buildings but most likely for new constructi

If local journalism will be bolstered via payroll tax credits, under consideration in Congress, shouldn't hiring journalists be incentivized over retaining them?

Yesterday I noted some of the debate about financing local journalism. A 6/27/23 Nieman Lab article, If the U.S. wants to boost journalism, it should learn from Canada’s mistakes , analyzes a report from the University of North Carolina’s Center on Technology Policy on Canada's tax credits for news publishers and individuals. From Sarah Scire's article: “At the federal level, lawmakers have framed news tax credits as key to protecting democracy through a healthy press,” the report notes. “This is a worthy goal, but given widespread partisan mistrust of the press it is unlikely to be broadly appealing across party lines. A potentially stronger framing would be to cast the credits as a benefit for small business owners and the broader community.” Indeed, that seems to be the framing of the current bill in Congress. I'll note a couple of recommendations in the report: Impose transparency measures to allow for public accountability.  That seems a no-brainer. Who's getting

Is the "Local-News Crisis... Weirdly Easy to Solve"? Maybe not, but if public or philanthropic funding comes though, the public ultimately could save.

I wrote the other day about the loss of the publication Gotham Gazette and yesterday I published  a long article on the 962 Pacific rezoning vote at the Sept. 14 Community Board 8 meeting. What do those two things have in common? Well, had there been any other journalist at the meeting--or even a secondhand report based on a press release--I would've published something sooner.  But I was waiting to clarify a few things--like how did a Land Use Committee resolution (which I had on tape) change by the time it got to the applicant? Answer: a typo--though whose typo remains unclear. Had another news outlet published an article, I would've published something sooner, then returned for a follow up. But there's so little budget for journalism that no oiher reporter was there--not even a student reporter covering things for school credit. Fixing things? So, I wonder, is The Local-News Crisis Is Weirdly Easy to Solve , as journalsm guru Steven Waldman contended in The Atlantic 8/8

Applicant for 962 Pacific spot rezoning proposes 27 deeply affordable units, not the requested 30, but gets Community Board 8 support. What will CM Hudson do?

After a convoluted process that required two votes, Brooklyn Community Board 8 on Sept. 14 endorsed the spot rezoning of the proposed 962 Pacific Street at a somewhat revised configuration from the Land Use Committee's  request  a week earlier. That means a promise of 27 deeply affordable apartments rather than the requested 30—but more than the 15 that applicant HSN Realty had earlier offered at the Crown Heights site, just east of Grand Avenue, under the city's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program.  The 27 units at 40% of Area Median Income (AMI) would rent, under current  limits  (which will rise), as follows: $848 for a studio, $1,059 for a one-bedroom, and $1,271 for a two-betroom.  It was a not insubstantial gain for those seeking deeper affordable housing and homes for those at risk of displacement, while a once majority-Black area has become whiter and wealthier.  Ultimately, it was also a victory for both HSN—there’s often slack in an applicant’s request--and some CB

With Gotham Gazette shuttered (for now?), another deficit in New York journalism. One example: too little coverage of "Open ESD" report.

It's a sign, perhaps, of the paucity of journalism in New York City that the recent news that Citizens Union would shut down the valuable online publication Gotham Gazette (1999-2023) did not , as far as I can tell, make it beyond Twitter. Citizens Union announces that it is "temporarily" shutting down @GothamGazette — David Freedlander (@freedlander) June 26, 2023 But the frustrated response--"disastrous decision," "sad news, etc."--to David Freedlander's tweet, especially from journalists and those in politics/government, indicates that Gotham Gazette would be missed.  After all, a nonprofit site devoted to "policy and politics" has an enormous range to cover, much of which may not generate huge advertising but deserves support. Can we blame Citizens Union for, as it stated , not beong "immune to the challenges facing nonprofit media outlets, particularly the costs"? Not completely, of course, b